The Perils of Walking While Under the Influence of Your Phone

Everyone seems to do it, in fact you may be doing it right now, but beware the injuries that await from distracted walking.
December 13, 2015, 11am PST | jwilliams | @jwillia22
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Josef Hanus

The data continues to pile up, giving evidence to what many have known for years: walking with your head down while looking at your phone isn’t the safest form of travel. Jane Brody reports in the New York Times' Well blog that a new survey from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has found that this plethora of data may still not be sinking in with everyone.

…most people seem to think the problem involves other people. They’re not the ones who walk distracted. A new survey of some 6,000 people released last week by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, found that while 74 percent said that “other people” were usually or always walking while distracted, only 29 percent said the same about themselves. And only 46 percent considered the behavior “dangerous.”

The number of nasty injuries, including head and neck injuries from trips, falls or being hit by cars caused by distracted walking, has doubled between 2004 and 2010. Brody reports that the best advice to avoid injury, as offered by experts, is to not look at your phone while walking. Other than that, a public service announcement called 'Digital Deadwalkers' is offering a number of basic suggestions to avoid injury, including a request that "if you find it necessary to make or take a call or send a text while walking, stop, step out of the flow of pedestrian and vehicular traffic, and resume walking only when the task is completed." Good advice.

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Published on Monday, December 7, 2015 in New York Times - Well
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